Inspiration for the major motion picture Mama Weed; translated from the international bestseller La Daronne, winner of the European Crime Fiction Prize and the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, France’s most prestigious prize for crime fiction
Meet Patience Portefeux, a fifty-three-year-old, underpaid Franco-Arab interpreter for the Ministry of Justice who specializes in phone tapping. Widowed after the sudden death of her husband, Patience is now wedged between university fees for her grown-up daughters and nursing home costs for her aging mother.
Happening upon an especially revealing set of police wiretaps ahead of all other authorities, Patience makes a life-altering decision that sees her intervening in — and infiltrating — the machinations of a massive drug deal. She thus embarks on an entirely new career path: Patience becomes The Godmother.
This is not the French idyll of postcards and stock photos. With a gallery of traffickers, dealers, police officers, and politicians, The Godmother casts its sharp and amusing gaze on everyday survival in contemporary France. With an unforgettable woman at its center, Hannelore Cayre’s bestselling novel reveals a European criminal underground that has rarely been seen.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Patience Portefeux mostly helps bust bad people, but sometimes she helps them—when they need it, or when she does. French novelist Hannelore Cayre makes her heroine feel strikingly real; thanks to Patience’s harsh self-awareness, it’s easy to understand her reasons for doing the wrong thing. The Godmother presents France without the traditional glam veneer, wallowing in contemporary grit. Cayre’s writing is stunning, darkly funny, and visual—no wonder this book has been developed for a 2020 film. We can’t wait to see who will play Patience, who’s in a class by herself as far as amateur criminals go. A woman who hides her assets as pink diamonds in lipstick tubes? Mais oui.
Patience Portefeux, the widowed 53-year-old narrator of French author Cayre's exuberant English-language debut, lives hand-to-mouth, barely covering her two daughters' university fees and her aged mother's care working as a translator for the Paris drug squad. By chance, Patience comes into contact with the mother of a drug trafficker and, with information from police wiretaps of the trafficker's movements, is able to secure a large quantity of hash. Under the alias the Godmother, she deals herself into financial security, going so far as to launder the money in Switzerland with the purchase of pink diamonds she hides in lipstick tubes. Maybe crime doesn't pay, but the guile and guts and humor with which Patience approaches this extreme solution to her desperate situation, right under the noses of law enforcement, is admirable, as are her survival instincts. Readers will be anxious about the fate of the forthright, sympathetic Patience up to the final page. It's no surprise that this novel won the Grand Prix de Litt rature Polici re, France's most prestigious award for crime fiction.